Many People talk about PIRACY within the music & video business and several countries have even tried to legislate laws that would affect the Piracy issue. Reality is something entirely different from perception. The current perception is that piracy (illegal manufacturing of CDs & DVDs) is creating massive sales beyond anyone’s comprehension. Bootleggers are not massive corporations highly organized making millions of dollars on other peoples work, in fact today’s bootleggers are neighborhood working people that have duplicating machines in their garage or basement and are selling on street corners, barbershops, beauty shops, flea markets and other places where there can be direct access to the customer.
The digital transition of music and video files has weakened the physical CD / DVD market and created a new problem within the industry. Today digital downloads are bringing direct to consumer sales for most artists around the world. But these musical creators don’t have or use the knowledge to cover their own creations with the tools that are currently available.
The biggest losers to Piracy are the writers, publishers and performers who have not taken the steps to cover their own material which can automatically make it easy to recover royalties. Every major country has a copyright protection law that protects the copyright owner, most artists I have met have no idea how to do this. The ISRC (International Standard Recording Code) is the international identification system for sound recordings and music video recordings. ISRCs are widely used in digital commerce by download sites and collecting societies. An ISRC can also be permanently encoded into a product as its digital fingerprint. Encoded ISRC provide the means to automatically identify recordings for royalty payments. American artists think that this is a UPC code, in other countries I get other (none correct) explanations.
The other inability most artist carry is ignorance of musical proficiency. Not being able to read or write music is directly connected to the new onslaught of technology. This technology was created to assist musicians, artist, producers and others to make creation and delivery of songs easier. What it has done is to make an entire new segment of uncreative, sound alike none emotional music.
Another offshoot of the technological boon is the lost of honest industry business practices. Artists are stealing music from one another, sampling several different people, combining music and then claiming it as original. The art of physically talking to music executives, fans and venue owners has almost completely ceased. Email, texting, Facebook, Twitter and other online social communication has replaced phone calls and private meetings.
The music industry has changed dramatically and making revenue has changed also. In the past when one wanted to make money they would record a song, get it played on radio, sold at stores and occasionally tour regionally performing along the way. Today’s industry has opened up to the entire world. Artists have to create many different ways to acquire revenue. An artist must build a fan base of people that want to believe that they are just like the artist. Now merchandise like, t-shirts, caps, photos, key chains, cell phone applications and much more combined with artist video and live performances are all needed to ensure a cash flow and strong career.
Education is the ONLY key of correcting the problems that are occurring today within the industry. The more people know what to do the better the industry can become.